Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

When you visit the dentist in Long Island, your dentist may ask you to receive dental X-rays to give them a better view of what is happening inside your mouth. Like other X-rays used to detect broken bones or other problems within the body, dental X-rays do involve radiation. However, the levels of exposure that accompany a dental X-ray are so low that they are very safe for children and adults.

Compared to other types of X-ray or medical imaging procedures, the amount of radiation delivered by modern digital dental X-rays is just a small fraction of the radiation exposure in those diagnostic procedures. In fact, the amount of radiation you receive through a dental X-ray is roughly comparable to what you might encounter by spending one or two hours on a relatively short airplane flight.

Why Do You Need Dental X-Rays?

You may not need dental X-rays every time you go to the dentist in Long Island, especially if you have had X-rays recently and you regularly come in for check-ups and cleaning. However, if you are a new patient or have not had X-rays taken in a while, they are an important diagnostic tool for your dentist to understand issues that are invisible without the inside look they provide. Dental X-rays can identify a number of concerns, including:

  • Tooth decay and cavities, including areas between teeth or underneath fillings
  • Bone loss or changes due to gum disease
  • Infections and abscesses between the teeth and gums or found at the root of the tooth
  • Changes to root canal procedures
  • Tumors, growths, or other abnormalities

Dental X-rays make it possible for your dentist to see these types of serious concerns, which might otherwise remain unnoticed or undiagnosed. X-rays can also help your dentist to prepare for other types of dental work, including denture placement, braces, or dental implants.

There are several types of dental X-rays, including bitewing, periapical, occlusal, panoramic, or a cone beam CT scan. All are designed to assess different aspects of your oral health.

What About Dental X-Rays for Children?

Many parents may be more concerned about whether dental X-rays are safe for children. After all, their smaller, developing bodies have greater radiation sensitivity. Because dental X-rays, especially the digital X-rays that we offer at Clock Tower Dental, have only 2.5% of the radiation exposure of other medical procedures, they remain safe and offer “child-sized” amounts of radiation.

Dental X-rays can be particularly important for children because their bones and teeth are changing rapidly. They can help dentists prevent crowding and discomfort, monitor the emergence of wisdom teeth and determine whether primary teeth or “baby teeth,” are loosening enough to allow permanent teeth to come in. In addition, dental X-rays for children can also identify the same concerns about gum disease and cavities as they do in adults.

Keeping Safe with Dental X-Rays

There are various ways that radiation can be further minimized during dental X-rays, including taking a single image, using lower radiation settings when possible, or wearing a leaded apron. A thyroid collar may be offered to protect the neck and thyroid from potential radiation exposure.

Pregnant women are generally advised to avoid all forms of radiation, including dental X-rays. If you are pregnant when you visit us at Clock Tower Dental, please let us know. Periodontal disease and other dental conditions may be causes for concern during pregnancy, so treatment is particularly important during this time. If you have a dental emergency, you may still need X-rays during pregnancy. Your dentist can help to take precautions to protect your fetus and your oral health.

Dental X-Rays in Long Island

Dental X-rays can be an important part of your overall oral care plan and help your dentist effectively prevent and treat tooth decay, gum disease, and other serious concerns. To schedule your next appointment for a dental checkup in Franklin Square, contact Clock Tower Dental at 516-352-1000 or use our convenient online form. We offer the most technologically advanced and up-to-date procedures and X-ray devices for the highest level of safety and patient care.

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